What if the pain is severe even if the shingles rash disappears?

As it rained across the country, the average temperature dropped by about 12 degrees Celsius from yesterday. When the weather is so sudden, shingles can come to people with weakened immune systems. Herpes zoster is a disease that causes a painful rash along the skin and ganglia where nerve cell bodies of peripheral nerves are gathered when the virus remaining in the body of a person who had chickenpox as a child is reactivated.

The skin rash and pain can be cured or improved, but middle-aged people over 60 may suffer from complications. It is known that 40% of people over 60 and 50% of people over 70 suffer from ‘postherpetic neuralgia’. Postherpetic neuralgia refers to pain that persists after the skin lesion has improved or even after 1 to 3 months have passed since the lesion occurred. In particular, patients with severe skin rash or pain, patients with facial paralysis and pain, patients with high fever of 38°C or higher, women and middle-aged patients over 60 years of age are more likely to suffer from postherpetic neuralgia.

Postherpetic neuralgia is often difficult to treat once it becomes chronic, so treatment is important to prevent nerve damage and help nerve regeneration at an early stage. The problem is that it is not easy for the patient to recognize that the cause of the pain is herpes zoster. As there are no other skin diseases or symptoms, it can be mistaken for other diseases such as a cold.

If a rash appears, antiviral drugs must be administered within 72 hours to speed up the recovery of the rash and pain. The treatment of neuralgia after herpes zoster starts with a low burden, such as drug treatment that prevents the initial infection from spreading and shortens the period of infection, along with nerve block therapy.

If the pain is severe, epidural nerve block is performed along with administration of antiviral drugs, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Relieving pain with epidural nerve block, drying out skin blisters, and reducing the incidence of neuralgia may relieve pain.

Professor Jo In-hae of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain at Korea University Anam Hospital said, “Most pain disappears spontaneously over time, or about 50% of patients improve within three months. If you suffer from postherpetic neuralgia, treatment becomes very difficult.” He said, “Although there is a difference depending on the patient’s immune status, 1 in 3 shingles patients suffer from postherpetic neuralgia, so in order to actively reduce pain and cure It’s good to get help.”

It is most important to prevent shingles, such as eating proper nutrition and exercising, and getting the shingles vaccine so that immunity does not drop.

Reporter Kim Seong-eun [email protected]

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